Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween is a Catholic Holiday

All Hallow's Eve, now called Halloween, is the eve of All Saints' Day, a day formerly a holy day of obligation.  Like all holy days the eve or vigil Mass became a celebration in itself.  So, Halloween grew into parties and celebrations, and eventually trick or treating, bobbing for apples, pumpkin carving, and lots of punch and candy.  Halloween was never a pagan holiday.  Though the trappings are there, the costumes, the tricks, the candy, the haunted houses are just that--trappings.  They are mostly harmless and make fun of things we think we should be scared of.  However, it really is supposed to be a celebration of the lives of the saints.  Don't let any overly sensitive "Christian" or delusional pseudo-pagan talk you or your kids out of having fun.  Play with your kids, dress up like a kid, have fun like a kid--just for one night enjoy and celebrate.

Further reading and ideas:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anti-Catholic Political Ads are Back in Style

In Washington state, the state I hesitate to say is where I was born and lived in until I was 24, the elections are being tainted by anti-Catholic bigotry.

I don't know anything about Mark Miloscia or his politics.  Obviously, from the above he must be Catholic.  But really, "he has best represented the people of The Vatican."  What is this the 17th century, when Catholics were not only not welcome in the Colonies but were actively blocked from participating in any type of politics and had few rights under the "law?."  Is this the 18th century, when the only state were there was actual freedom of religion-Maryland, which was founded by Catholics-was taken over by protestants and it became illegal to practice Catholicism in the open?  Is this the 19th, were Irish Catholic immigrants were indentured servants with no rights and no freedoms as citizens?  Is it the 20th century where the public was told a Catholic candidate (including John F. Kennedy) would mean the U.S.A. would become a vassal of the Vatican?  To think that our country had not evolved past such prejudices is almost unthinkable and bodes no good for the future of our country.

The website listed at the top of the cartoon goes to a webpage that lists all of Mr. Miloscia's "sins."  From what I can gather from this list, Mr. Miloscia voted his conscience.  For instance, he voted against forcing Catholic Charities to pay for voluntary abortions and forcing all insurance carriers to cover contraception.  He voted against same sex "marriage" and "domestic partner" "rights".  He voted for a tax on adult entertainment materials which the web page author calls a "sin tax" on "playboys and marital aids."  He voted against the "Death with Dignity Act" (which unfortunately passed) which gives terminally ill and elderly people the right to "choose their time of death" in other words, giving people the right to kill themselves if they are suffering.  All of these issues are morally repugnant and against Catholic teaching.  Instead of berating him for voting "Catholic" they should be applauding him for voting his conscience.  After all, that is what the other side says there doing.

The irony is that Mr. Miloscia was a Democrat but left the party over these very issues.   He became a Republican candidate to put forward a more conservative agenda than the Democrats are willing to hear.  Washington state has become a liberal bastion and an embarrassment to all moral thinking and acting voters.  If I still lived in Washington state, I'd feel very ashamed at this campaign.  Portraying a Catholic as a nut case and a vassal of the Vatican because he votes his conscience is barbaric and the epitome of the smear campaign.  None of the things listed in the anti-Catholic smear ad seem to be "sins" at all, let alone deal breakers as far as a politician should be concerned.  I pray that Mark Miloscia stands his ground and votes his conscience despite the smear campaign, despite pressure, and despite election.

Also ironic are all the inconsistencies on the website.  The website says that Miloscia voted against forcing pharmacies to provide emergency contraceptives, voted against forcing employers to carry insurance for contraception and abortions but then accuses him of lobbying for large pharmaceutical companies, because of campaign contributions.  Says he "lobbies for the Vatican" yet sets up a page pitting his alleged record against out-of-context quotes by the pope which appear to oppose Miloscia stand on the pet legislation.

Go here to read Miloscia's side of the campaign.

While Catholics are only about 7% of the population in the state in which I now reside, at least this type of campaign hasn't happened here--yet.  However, much of the nation saw the "Black Mass" debacle in Oklahoma City on the news.  At least only 42 people (reportedly) attended the performance (in an 80 seat auditorium)  that was pointedly done to ridicule a true Mass and the Catholic Church.  Our Archbishop stood up for Christ and got an legal injunction for the return of the supposedly blessed Host that was to be used that night.
One of the few prejudices that are still politically okay--Catholic bashing. But while I can understand why people who hold completely morally opposite views might attack a candidate like Mr. Miloscia, I don't understand why other Christians wouldn't speak out.   Catholic entities such as Catholic Charities and abbeys that refuse to pay for contraception and abortions on moral grounds are being attacked.  Many other Christian organizations don't believe that affects them.  How about the pastors in Texas?  Does the fact that the new, openly gay attorney general is ordering pastors, under threat of criminal prosecution, to turn over copies of all sermons that speak out against homosexuals in general or her in particular get anyone's attention?  Our country is slowly but surely turning into a country that no longer believes in freedom of religion or a right of any Christian to have his beliefs affect his public life and decisions.

[Note: The above cartoon, although it can be found elsewhere online, has been taken off the original website by the anonymous author at the request of the Democratic opposition]


This article is strictly the opinion of the post author--Cathmom5.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Syncretism and other nonsense.

We have a very interesting non-Catholic who has been commenting on Catholic Debate Forum accusing the Church of pagan roots. 

First, he said that the Church got its practice of eating fish on Friday from pagans who ate fish on Friday in honor of Freya.  Freya was a Scandinavian goddess that was never an influence on Christianity or its customs.  Beside the fact that the Scandinavian peoples ate fish on a regular basis, not just on Friday.  He also mentioned a couple of other gods who were supposedly honored by fish consumption.  Even if that were true, what has that to do with the Christian practice of eating fish on Fridays?  Nothing whatsoever.

The practice of the Catholic Church is to not eat meat on Fridays.  The Church observed this custom from early in its existence (its founding by Christ in the first century).  It is a custom in consideration of the poor.  The poor could rarely afford to eat meat.  European poor often ate bread, porridge, and vegetables on a regular basis.  If they were fortunate, they lived near rivers, the Mediterranean or other seas in which obtaining fish only cost time and ingenuity.

Fish became a customary alternative to meat not only because the poor usually ate fish, when they could afford it (usually much more often than they could afford meat), but fish was not considered to be meat.  Fish are cold blooded and that in itself made people think that their flesh was not the same as meat.

Another point about eating fish is that Jesus called His followers to be "fishers of men." Jesus chose Peter and Andrew, James and John to be apostles.  Both sets of brothers were fishermen by trade.  Thus, His call to be "fishers of men" was not lost on them.

And, the early church used the fish rather than the cross as a secret code that they were Christians.  The illustration above shows how the word fish in Greek can, ironically, be used as an acronym for Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior.  The early Christians saw this as an affirmation of their faith in Christ.

Colors of Mardi Gras
This silly person then tried again to link Catholicism with paganism by saying that "carnival/Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday" was another syncretism (which he erroneously considers the custom of eating fish on Friday to be) to make it "easier to join the Church."  It is quite obvious to anyone who actually knows anything about history that Mardi Gras comes from the Church's practice to rid their houses of any luxury food items such as meat, fats, sugar, eggs, milk, etc. the day before (thus fat Tuesday which is what mardi gras means in French, by the way) Ash Wednesday.  Thus, it was called Mardi Gras in French or Fat Tuesday in English, because they would consume all these items on that day.  It was the practice of many parts of the Church until modern times to not eat these items, including meat, for the entire 40 days of Lent.  They would then have a grand celebration on Easter Sunday with any of the items they could afford from which they had abstained during Lent.

Carnival actually comes from the Latin carne vale which is roughly translated "farewell to flesh" also has its roots in the Church celebration before Lent.  It is not a pagan custom adapted to Christian practice; it is quite the opposite.  The Christian practice was adapted and customized by the cultures (such as Rome) around the Church.  In Rio, carnivale has become a huge party with drinking and costumes.  Mardi Gras in New Orleans came there by the French and Spanish Catholics who settled there (also where the cajun language came from).  These customs has been taken too far in some places  and seriously misrepresent the Church's intent before the celebration of the holy days of Lent.  The roots of the celebration, wherever it is, came from the Church, not the other way around. The accusation that these customs have their roots in paganism or that the Church is pagan comes from ignorant anti-Catholics from the 19th century on that attempted and still attempt to discredit Christ's Church.

Even if this (mardi gras or eating fish) were syncretisms to "make it easier to join the Church" what would be the harm in that?  We should make it easy for those seeking the truth to embrace and love the Lord through the Church He Himself established.  We welcome one and all--the sinner as well as the saint.  Christ said that the physician is called to heal the sick.  What better nurse to the Great Physician than His Church?

By the way, the traditional colors of Mardi Gras represent justice (purple), faith (green), and power (gold).  Very Christian indeed.